Activity note: Check-in available from 3:30 p.m. You are welcome to arrive as early as you like, but accommodations will not be available before the noted time.
Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and pick up your welcome packet containing your name tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check-in.
Dinner: In our reserved section of the hotel restaurant, enjoy a buffet including fresh baked breads and rolls from the on-site bakery, a bountiful salad bar, seasonal soups, several hot entrees, and dessert. Beverage choices include coffee, tea (iced or hot), soda, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. Door County is named for the passage at the tip of the peninsula where the waters of Lake Michigan mix with the waters of the Bay of Green Bay. There have been many shipwrecks in this area and it became known as "Porte des Mortes" or "Death's Door." Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Breakfast: In our reserved section of the hotel restaurant, our buffet offers rotating choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat (such as bacon, ham, sausage), hot cereals, fruit, pastries, yogurt, milk, juices, coffee (regular and decaf), tea, and water.
Morning: Rowleys Bay is a spectacular location for our Road Scholar program. Take a walk down to the lakefront with the hotel owner and learn how this property was developed. What once was a run down fishing camp has been re-imagined as a vintage resort along Lake Michigan. A family business for over 30 years, the property offers an authentic Door County experience. Walk down to the bay to talk about the Mink River Estuary, one of just a few high quality estuaries remaining in the United States, and Newport State Park, Wisconsin's only designated wilderness park with over 2300 acres of evergreen and hardwood forests, wetlands and upland meadows. Walk along the shore to see the commercial fishing pier and other sites. We'll be outside for about an hour. Return to the hotel for the next presentation in the meeting room. Gather in the meeting room and meet a well-known local watercolor artist. Spend some time talking about traveling and journaling your experiences. The artist will explain his technique through a short demonstration, then it is time for you to give it a try. Door County will provide the inspiration, you provide the enthusiasm. Can't draw a straight line? That's fine, your work only has to please you. Our manta "Don't think, just do!" You'll be surprised with the results and you'll have a great memento to take home.
Lunch: In the hotel restaurant. The restaurant is not typically open for lunch, but they are open for Road Scholar. Depending on the size of the group, today's lunch will either be a buffet or a plated lunch with sandwich and side along with a beverage such as coffee (regular or decaf), milk, soda, iced tea or water.
Afternoon: Year after year, this presentation is consistently one of the top rated by Road Scholar participants -- it's the surprising art of taxidermy. Taxidermy? Yes, taxidermy. Our award-winning local taxidermist will bring several examples of his art such as fish, mammals and birds. It takes talent and true artistic vision to create a life-like mount. He will explain the process of mounting a fish and show the various tools he uses. It wouldn't be a trip to Door County without attending a fish boil. The resort has the only all-you-care-to-eat fish boil buffet. Join the resident storyteller by the fire pit at 4:30 p.m. to learn about the fish boil and the colorful characters who figure in its history all with spectacular Newport State Park as the backdrop. You can't beat the view! Bring your camera for the spectacular "boil over" at 5:00 p.m. When the fish is done we eat.
Dinner: Hotel restaurant buffet. Tonight the buffet features the traditional Door County Fish Boil with potatoes, onions, coleslaw, rye bread and cherry dessert. If you're not a fan of fish there will be lots of other delicious choices.
Evening: Door County contains some spectacular scenery. Tonight we've invited a well-known nature photographer to show some of his amazing images, many have appeared in local publications and websites. He'll share stories of his experiences getting the perfect shot.
Activity note: Some walking over a rocky beach, along forest trails and grass lawns.
Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet. Be sure to try the half-pound caramel pecan rolls.
Morning: This morning we'll explore Door County's geologic history with a local naturalist. The tough dolomitic limestone was carved during the last ice age creating the Door County peninsula with its characteristic rocky outcroppings forming the Niagara Escarpment, an arc extending from Wisconsin up through the Bruce Peninsula in Canada and ending at Niagara Falls, New York. We'll take a coach out to a nearby rocky shoreline to hunt for fragments of fossils left from the Silurian Period such as corrals and clams. The naturalist will be on hand to help identify your finds. Then we'll cross the peninsula to Ellison Bluff County Park to see the Niagara Escarpment on the Bay of Green Bay. On a clear day you can see to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The peninsula is on a tilt so there are steep bluffs on the Green Bay side and sandy beaches on the Lake Michigan side. Take a short walk along a trail to look for seasonal wildflowers and native trees.
Lunch: Plated lunch at a restaurant in Fish Creek. You'll have a choice of sandwich, side and a slice of homemade pie - cherry is always a popular choice! Your lunch also includes a non-alcoholic beverage such as soda, iced tea and water.
Afternoon: Enter Peninsula State Park, one of Wisconsin's premiere state parks, for an visit to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. This beautifully restored lighthouse sits atop a bluff above the Bay of Green Bay. With a docent, visit the living quarters of the lighthouse keepers and their families. Hear stories of shipwrecks and life "keeping the light."
Dinner: Hotel restaurant buffet.
Evening: During the 1930s and 1940s, Door County was known as Cherryland USA. Tonight we'll meet a local orchard owner and learn about his farm that has been in his family for over 100 years. He'll share stories of growing up on the orchard and harvests during World War II when German POWs were brought in to pick cherries. Local Door County-made products like dried cherries, cherry juice and jams will be available for purchase.
Activity note: Ferry crossing takes about 30-minutes.
Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet.
Morning: Board our coach for a short trip north to where the main part of the peninsula ends, at Northport Ferry Dock. We will board the Washington Island Ferry for a 30-minute crossing to the island and then pick up our guide for the day to explore the island and its history and culture. Washington Island sits about 7 miles north off the tip of the Door County Peninsula. A long time home to native peoples due to the abundant fish and fresh water, the island was settled by Icelandic and other Scandinavian immigrants in the late 1800s. Today there is about 800 residents who live year-round on the island and well as thousands who visit. Everything must be transported over by ferry including food, furniture and even livestock. You never know what you'll see while waiting for the ferry.
Lunch: At a local island restaurant.
Afternoon: Continue our island exploration including stops at the Stave church, Schoolhouse Beach and lavender farm. After our day-long field trip we head back to the ferry for another 30-minute crossing back to the mainland.
Dinner: Hotel restaurant buffet.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Walking over level ground at the museums.
Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet.
Morning: Boarding the motorcoach, ride to Seaquist Orchards to see the family operation typical of orchards in Door County. One of the area’s largest cherry and apple orchards, take a trip with our coach through the test orchard and learn more about the fruit industry. At the end, enjoy a cup of apple cider and explore the farm market with local products. Then we're off to Sturgeon Bay, about an hour's ride south. Our next stop brings us to the Door County Historical Museum, voted “Best Small Museum in the Midwest” by the Chicago Tribune. Educational displays portray Door County’s unique history including early settlers, orchards, industries, and more. The spectacular “Seasons of Life”; wildlife diorama by a nationally renowned taxidermist features over 100 native species. The Pioneer Fire Station showcases three beautifully restored fire trucks including a rare 1920 Oldsmobile. We will meet the taxidermist at the museum and learn how the exhibit was created from the bird and animal mounts to the painted mural to the realists rocks and leaves. You will be amazed at the amount of detail. Spend some time on your own discovering the exhibits brimming with artifacts on local history.
Lunch: At a local restaurant in Sturgeon Bay, located along the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, we will have a soup and salad buffet, plus coffee (regular/decaf), ice tea, lemonade, water. If we’re lucky we’ll see the Michigan Street steel bridge open for a sailboat to pass through.
Afternoon: Travel across the historic steel Michigan Street Bridge to the Door County Maritime Museum. Located along Sturgeon Bay’s busy waterfront, the Door County Maritime Museum showcases the area’s rich maritime roots. A docent will lead your exploration of this fascinating museum. In the various exhibits you'll find hard-working fishermen, brave ship captains, skilled craftsmen, bold inventors and lonely lighthouse keepers.
Dinner: Hotel restaurant buffet. Tonight the restaurant features prime rib.
Evening: The arts are alive and well in Door County. Tonight we welcome a local musical group for some light entertainment to end our time together.
Activity note: Check-out is by 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!